Learning Center

Tornado Safety Tips

tornado with dark storm clouds

Prepare your home and family before a storm sweeps in.

Nearly 1,200 twisters occur each year in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Many of these storms destroy homes, businesses and lives.

Since tornadoes are often unpredictable and extremely powerful, no amount of preparation will eliminate every risk. But there are steps you can take to protect your home and your family.

Designate a shelter

Your basement or lowest ground floor work best as a storm shelter. The area you choose should be away from windows or objects that could be thrown by wind.

If you live in a mobile home, designate a storm shelter, friend’s home or other building for evacuation during a storm.

Stock supplies

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends keeping your shelter area stocked with emergency supplies such as a flashlight, portable radio, first aid kit, food and water.

Develop an emergency plan

Make sure everyone in your household understands the local siren warning system and where to go when they hear it. Listen to the radio and TV for severe weather warnings.

Make safety improvements to your home

Garage doors are highly susceptible to wind damage, but you can retrofit them to improve wind resistance.

Consider installing high-impact windows designed for wind resistance.

Make sure entry doors have at least three hinges and a deadbolt lock.

Have a contractor examine your roof and foundation to ensure they're anchored securely.

Document your valuables

Create an inventory of your personal possessions by taking photos or video of your property.

Sign up for American Family Tornado Alerts

Any American Family Insurance customer can subscribe to our tornado alert service, which notifies you when a tornado warning has been declared in your area. You can provide up to three numbers and three email addresses at which you'd like to be contacted.

Additional tornado safety resources

For more information about preparing for a tornado, visit these sites: